tv Senate Confirmation Hearing CSPAN July 31, 2011 2:00am-3:30am EDT
i came here never expecting to raise the debt ceiling. but i'm now compromised. i have twice voted to raise the debt ceiling to cover spending from failed stimulus, from a health care bill that ends medicare as we know it. i have voted -- twice. twice for solutions. and you know what? that's compromise for me. i came -- when i ran for this, this seat, i told the people that i serve, you know what? i'm not extreme, i am mad. i'm mad that washington, d.c., thinks you are the piggy bank. that's what this debate is about. we end it today. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. mcgovern: i yield myself 10 seconds, madam speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for 10 seconds. mr. mcgovern: to remind the gentlelady that she has voted time and time and time again to decimate medicare, medicaid, and social security. we are not going to stand by and let them do that.
at this point i'd like to yield two minutes to the gentleman from maryland, the ranking member of the budget committee. the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. the gentleman will suspend. the house will be in order. mr. mcgovern: at this point, madam speaker, i'd like to yield two minutes to the gentleman from maryland, the distinguished ranking member of the budget committee, mr. van hollen. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maryland is recognized for two minutes. mr. van hollen: thank you, madam spker. i think the american people just ard a new definition of compromise. paying your bills is a compromise. the american family can't wake up one morning and say, boy, it's a compromise and pay for what i already incurred. it's a compromise to pay my mortgage. that's a new one for the american people. and it's part of a reckless pattern that we have seen emerging here. furs our republican colleagues walked out of the biden talks. then twice they walked out of the talks of the president of the united states. then when the republican leader in the senate put forward a proposal, they ridiculed it.
thursday night in this very house they said no to the proposal by the republican speaker of this house until he amended it. the same speaker who said we need to have an adult moment. here's the concluding paragraph of today's "wall street journal." republicans are not looking like adults to whom we can entrust the government. the american people are looking for that adult moment. if you're not willing to compromise on critical things for the country, you are not fit to govern. and that is why senator reid put forward a compromise proposal. he doesn't like his own proposal. he would be the first to tell you that. you know what it did? it met the criteria our republican colleagues put forward. $2.4 trillion in cuts. ven if you take out the war savings, more guaranteed cuts according to c.b.o. than the boehner proposal the other night. it also incorporates mcconnell's proposal. here's what it doesn't do. it doesn't endhe medicare
guarantee. it doesn't cut social security. and it doesn't protect tax breaks for special interests corporations. now, look, what we are seeing here is people who are holding the american economy hostage. you have to stop playing kamikaze pilot with the future of the american people. in order to extract 100% of demands for budgets your way. compromise is necessary. and that is what senator reid put forward. a compromise proposal. let's show we can govern together. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the ntleman from california. mr. dreier: i yield myself five seconds to again say to my colleagues the measure we voted on last night stemmed from a bipartisan compromise put together in this very capital one week ago today. with that, madam speaker, i'm happy to yield 30 seconds--actually one minute to my good friend from ohio, mr. jordan. the speaker pro tempore: the
gentleman from ohio is recognized for one minute. mr. jordan: i thank the gentleman for yielding. let's cut to the numbers and what this bill does. we got a $14 trillion debt. this is going to raise the debt ceiling $2.4 trillion. achieving savings of $18 billion in the first. think of it the american people see things. you got a kid who maxed out the credit card at $14,000. the kid goes to the bank and the bank ays ok here's what we are going to do. we are going to give you $2,400 on the credit card, but you have to promise us over the next year you're going to spend $18 less than you planned on spending. that's what this bill does. this bill doesn't even come close to starting to solve the problem. that's why we are against it. that's why it should be defeated. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yield back. the house will be in order. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: i yield myself five seconds. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. mcgovern: my colleague from california keeps on saying that
the boehner bill was bipartisan. i remind him not one single democrat voted for that bill because democrats do not want to decimate social security. mr. dreier: would the gentleman yield? mr. mcgovern: at this time i'd like to yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. fattah. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized for 30 seconds. mr.attah: i assume that something that the american people are gullible, but this is not a coincidence or happenchance. we got a republican majority that took us from trillions in surplus to trillions in deficit. added a $7 trillion prescription drug plan. unfunded wars. and then refused any additional revenue. and choking off our country's ability to pay its debt. now they want to walk us towards default. there is a special place in the shadows of the history books for a group of people who in order to gain power were willing to sacrifice americans' leadership in this war. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired.
the gentleman from california. mr. dreier: madam speaker, i'd like to yield any of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who will tell me where in the boehner bill it says that we want to cut medicare, social security, or any of the other items that they continue to attack? may i -- i'm hap to yield to anyone who can point to me where in the boehner bill it says that. i'm happy to yield to anyone. obviously -- i'm happy to yield to my friend. mr. mcgovern: balanced budget amendment you have, the ryan budget. the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. mr. dreier: madam speaker, with that i'm happy to yield 30 seconds to my good friend from colorado. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from colorado is recognized for 30 seconds. >> thank you, madam speaker. madam speaker, the president of the united states, barack obama, hasaid to the congress that we need to put america first and get this done. mr. coffman: i agree with that.
i agree that we need to put america first and take politics -- put politics aside. last weekend a bipartisan proposal emged. which speaker boehner and majority leader reid, senator reid coming to an agreement. but the president of the united states got a hold of senator reid and said, absolutely not. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. dreier: an additional 15 seconds. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. coffman: thank you, madam speaker. the reason why he pulled the agreement was because it didn't have enough money to get him through the election of 2012, november of 2012. the president's campaign nsiderations is not putting america first. we need to put america first -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time hasxpired. mr. coffman: vote down -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired.
the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. van hollen: the chairman of the rules committee wanted to yield -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is not is recognized. the gentleman from massachusetts is recognized. mr. dreier: we have a lot of members who would like to be heard. i extended time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman will suspend. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: may i inquire of the time remaining on both sides? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from massachusetts has four minutes remaining. the gentleman from california has 6 1/4 minutes remaining. mr. mcgovern: we'll reserve our time. maybe the gentleman from california might want to yield to mr. van hollen. we reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california. mr. dreier: madam speaker, i did ask a few minutes agoand expended time by asking anyone to yield. i mean -- we have a lot of members here who want to be heard from. mr. mcgovern has time if he would like to yield. i yield 15 seconds to my friend
and maybe mr. mcgovern will yield him 15 seconds and then we can hear what mr. van hollen has to hear. i yield the gentleman 15 seconds, madam speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maryland is recognized. mr. van hollen: if you look at the boehner proposal it says we got to cut $1.8 trillion. the speaker of the house has already said that you can't have any revenue as part of that. you can't close one corporate loophole. in fact he said that the majority would override any proposal. so the only other way to get it math mathically is to start slashing medicare. and to start going after cial security. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. dreier: madam speaker, my point has been made very eloquently by the gentleman. i very much appreciate it. the speaker pro tempore: who seeks recognition? mr. dreier: i thank my friend for his contribution. madam speaker, at this point i'm
happy to yield one minute to my good friend from drexel hill, pennsylvania, mr. meehan. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized for one minute. mr. meehan: thank you, mr. chairman. as we used to say in the courtroom, the facts are, there are no facts. the truth of the matter is the only people who are cutting $500 billion from medicare are the democrats in their proposal. but that's not -- the gentleman will not yield. i'll make my point and be happy to be off. the issue here is really one of compromise. i come here as a freshman. somebody that's looking at this for the first time. and we came in and worked on a bill, the boehner proposal. the frustration from me was knowing going in that evening that i had already been made aware that this leadership, the leadership of the party on the other side, had ripped their members so not a single member
was ready on the other side to sit and talk to anyone on this aisle. the whip was there. you will not vote. you will not talk. were not able. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the house will be in order. the house will be in order. those in the back of the chamber will take their conversations off the floor. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: i yield 10 seconds to the gentleman from maryland, mr. van hollen. the speaker pro tempore: is recognized for 10 second. mr. van hollen: just to be very clear. what we did was eliminated the overpayments to some of the medicare advantage plans and, and -- madam speaker -- madam speaker --
the speaker pro tempore: the house is not in order. the gentleman will suspend. the gentleman is recognized. mr. van hollen: thank you, madam speaker. we used much of those savings to ose the prescription drug doughnut hole. in your budget you took the hole $500 billion, but you reopened the dg doughnut hole at the same time you are eliminating the medicare guarantee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from california. mr. dreier: madam speaker, let me yield myself five seconds to say i thank the gentleman for once again pointing to the fact there is nothing in the boehner proposal thathere's anything that cuts social security or medicare. madam speaker, with that i'm happy to yield 15 seconds to a new member from zealand, micgan, mr. high tsenga -- high sanga. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for 15 second. mr. huizenga: we heard from a colleague from florida on the
other side of the aisle talking about the constitution and intend of it. ladies and gentlemen, this is about controlling our spending and accountability with the american people. and it might not be in this bill. it might not be in the other bills. eventually we have to realize we need to institutional brakes on our spending because we cannot control our spending in this institution. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: if this is about protecti social security, medicare, and medicaid, i'd like to yield two minutes to the gentleman from south carolina, mr. clyburn. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from south carolina is recognized for two minutes. mr. clyburn: thank you very much, madam speaker. i thank the gentleman for yielding. the clock is ticking. the american people are anxiously waiting for responsible leadership. and the republicans here in congress are continuing to play political games. last night the united states senate rightly defeated the boehner bill on a bipartisan vote. that partisan bill was the
product of the republicans' my way or the highway approach that held all americans hostage to ransom payment for medicare, medicaid, and social security beneficiaries. . now, we must find a commonsense compromise. that's why i will vote for the reid amendment today -- reid bill today. the reid bill says it will not let us default from our fiduciary obligations. throughout deliberations on the self-inflicted debt crisis, my bottom line has been to protect social security, medicare and medicaid. this plan contains real spending cuts and deficit reduction to begin putting our
nation's fiscal house in order. it meets the speaker's requirement that spending be cut by the amount at least as large as the debt ceiling increase. and it does so while protecting social security, medicare and medicaid beneficiaries. it also safeguards programs that provide low-income young people the opportunity to go to college and to work to achieve the american dream. we must take responsible action now to avert this crisis and move to significant measures to create jobs and generate economic growth. the speakepro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. clyburn: thank you, madam speaker. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from california. mr. dreier: madam speaker, at this time i'm happy to yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from tupelo, mississippi, mr. nunnelee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from mississippi is
recognized for 30 seconds. mr. nunnelee: thank you, madam speaker. we heard from the people on the other side, we want compromise. the american people expect solutions. and this harry reid plan offers no real solutions to the out-of-control spending problem. this harry reid plan offers no solutions to the broken washington mess that got us here, so i'll vote no. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: madam speaker, may i inquire about the time on both sides, please? the speakepro tempore: the gentleman from massachusetts has 1 3/4 mites remaining. the gentleman from california has 4 1/2 minutes. mr. mcgovern: we'll reserve our time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from california. mr. dreier: madam speaker, at this time i'm happy to yield to
my friend from new jersey, mr. garrett. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new jersey is recognized for one minute. one minute. mr. garrett: and as i come to the floor, as the previous speaker said, this side of the aisle is committed to reaching a solution and not just a deal to this problem. we are committed to reaching out across the aisle and across the other side of this house to reach a compromise. we have already compromised on the level of cuts going even further. we have already compromised on the level of the caps, raising the caps to make it even easier in that regard as well. we have also already compromised from where we started with regard to a balanced budget endment, holding true to the idea that we should, as all americans agree, eventually pass a change in the constitution and require a balanced budget amendment to this bill. but at the end of the day, although we will compromise on cuts and we will compromise on caps and we will compromise on
moving forward on a balanced budget amendment, let it be clear as god as my witness we will not cmprise on our principles, our principles of defending the constitution and defending america and making sure our prosperity does not have this excessive debt on it. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: i yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from new york, mr. engel. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized for 30 seconds. mr. engel: well, thank you. here we are on the brink of economic disaster and we're wasting time with symbolic political theater at its worth. we want coromise and solutions and to protect medicare on the democratic side. why don't you try working with democrats? the american people want us to meet in the middle. they don't want this nonsense. the debate focuses only on spending cuts without closing tax loopholes and that still isn't enough for some. no wonder "the wall street journal" said no wonder they don't look like adults. the democrats want a compromise
in the middle and the president needs to pull the 14th amendment -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. engel: the republicans have shown they don't want compromise at all. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. dreier: thank you very much, madam speaker. at this time i'm happy to yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from newberg, indiana, mr. bucshon. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from indiana is recognized for 30 second. mr. bucshon: madam speaker, here we are on the verge of a financial meltdown and my friends on the other side of the aisle are worried about politics. they're here today worried about protecting the president from having to do his job, lead. the republicans in the house are leading. we passed two bills that would end this crisis, and the senate hasn't -- they haven't put them down. they haven't voted on them. they've tabled them. we're here to lead. we need leadership. and we're providing it. thank you.
the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: madam speaker, our side is prepared to close so i will ask -- we'll reserve our time. mr. dreier: madam speaker, we have several more speakers on our side. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. dreier: at this time i'm happy to yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from ashton, wisconsin. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from wisconsin is recognized for 30 seconds. mr. duffy: my friends across the aisle voted to rob $500 billion out of medicare for obamacare. they instituted a board that will ration care for our seniors. we brought a proposal for our house that will root out all loopholes in nooks and crannies for businesses who hide their money and they voted no. >> will the gentleman yield? mr. duffy: the american people -- will the gentleman yield? -- >> will the gentleman yield?
mr. duffy: the harry reid bill is full of -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. duffy: budget gimmicks which doesn't get the job done. the speaker pro tempore: who claims time? the house will be in order. the gentleman from california. mr. dreier: thank you very much, madam speaker. at this time i'm happy to yield 30 second to the gentleman from mississippi mr. pa. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. palazzo: the american people expect us to lead during times of crisi house republicans have led. house republicans have provided plans and solutions to america's debt crisis. house republicans have used
their voice as representatives of their district to end the deficit crisis and to balance a budget. we've done our job. it's time a the senate does theirs. leader reid and president obama is what stands in the way of helping this debt crisis. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. palazzo: vote no on the reid plan. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentleman reserve? mr. mcgovern: i ask unanimous consent to insert in the record an article that appeared in "the wall street journal" today entitled "the debt limit hobbits." the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentleman from california. mr. dreier: madam speaker, is the gentleman prepared to close? i'm sorry. mr. mcgovern: yes. our leader is prepared to close for us. the speaker pro tempore: then i'll close on our side. i reserve the balance of my
time -- mr. dreier: then i'll close on ouside. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: madam speaker, i yield myself 15 seconds before i yield the remaining minute to -- the speaker pro mpor the gentleman is recognized for 15 seconds. mr. mcgovern: i implore rational republicans to passing the reid bill. i appeal to your sense of responsibility, to your sense of duty to your country, have the courage of your convictions to do what's right. don't be paralyzed by the threats of the tea party or other extreme groups. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. mcgovern: medicare, medicaid and social security, and i yield the balance of our time, one minute, to the gentlewoman from california, the democratic leader and the defender of medicare, medicaid and social security, nancy pelosi. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from california is recognized for the time remaining. pelosi -- ms. pelosi: thank you very
much, madam speaker. i recognize the great leadership of mr. van hollen as our ranking member on the budget committee and he and mr. clyburn representing the values of the american people at the negotiating table for this. i rise in support of the reid legislation. i urge my colleagues to support it because it protects social security, medicaid and medicare , because it is fair. but i want to use my time in the following way -- i listened very carefully and very attentively to our speaker yesterday when he spoke and he used the term, "the bill is not perfect but we did our level best." our level best. one might infer from that that this process is on the level. how can it be on the level if we're bringing a $2.5 trillion
bill to the floor under suspension the same way we might bring the naming of a post office? $2.5 trillion, 20 minutes on each side. members have said on both sides of the aisle this is a very important debate. well, if it is why is it brought under suspension which requires a 2/3 vote guaranteeing that it will not prevail, not on the level? the word level of course, enters into, is this on a level playing field? is it level for senior citizens while it gives big tax breaks for oil? is it level so we can give tax breaks to corporations sending jobs overseas? is it on the level for us to make children -- young people and their families pay more for their college education so we can give tax breaks to the high end? is it on the level to bring a
boehner bill to the floor that makes all those cuts, undermines social security, eliminates medicare and it doesn't charge one red cent to people who have benefited so much from the greatness of our country? is it our best? is it our best to drag this out for all this time to keep in sess spence as to whether we would -- suspense as to whether we would honor our constitutional responsibility to pay our debts? the constitution says the national debt has to be recognized. it has to be recognized. and recognize weid. president after president, 3 times in -- 32 times in recent memory, including when president bush was president, at that time, even though many of us did not agree with the war in iraq, did not agree the tax cuts for the wealthiest people in oucountry to the
tunes of hundreds of billions of dollars, not agree to the giveay to the pharmaceutical industry, we didn't agree with that policy. that's how we got into debt. turning around from the surplus direction we were going in with president clinton whose last four budgets were in balance or in surplus. we didn't agree how president bush took us into debt, but we never, never stood in the way of honoring the full faith and credit othe united states. why, then, why, then -- why, thenould we this one time with this president decide that we would put up barriers so extreme, changing the constitution in order to lift e debt limit?
it's a mathematical requirement. of course we must all reduce the deficit. but is it our best to say we're going to use the debate to reduce the deficit, to destroy the public's faith? look at the appropriations bills that are brought before us. destroying the public's faith of clean air, clean water, food safety, the education of our children, the health and financial security of our seniors through medicare and medicaid, that's what they are doing. this is -- we have come to those conclusions, we have to do it, we know how to do it. but if they want to take it to the next step of destroying the public sector, we cannot go to that place when it affects the air our children breathe, the water they drink, the food they eat, the education they receive, the safety of the neighborhoods in which they live. the speaker also said that the
bill was not perfect. . no bill is perfect. i disagree in one respect. i think this bill is perfect in its absurdity. his bill was perfectly absurd. perfectly absurd. perfectly absurd again to say to a president after 32 times lifting the debt ceiling we are going to change the game for you, mr. president. it's perfectly absurd for them to say that the bill they brought to the floor -- the boehner bill they brought to the floor was an agreement of the four leaders of the house and senate, democrat and republican. either you don't know what you're talking about or or -- i will not yield to you. very, very important that we all take a deep breath. we have important work to do.
important decision to ma. senator reid has given us a direction to go. no cuts in benefits for medicare and medicaid and social security beneficiaries. i wish that we had revenues in there so that those who had been fitted from the greatness the last 50 years of bipartisan progress for the american people would be able to make their contribution, but not one read -- red cent of revenue while we are saying kids should pay more for their student loans. so it's time to end this theater of the absurd. it's time for us to get real. it's time for us to get real and listen to the wisdom of the american people. they have said to us that they support an overwhelming -- in overwhelming numbers a bipartisan balanced approach. in overwhelming numbers that we
should all pay our fair share. and they all agree that we should get this over with so we can get back to work puttinthe americaneople back to work by creating jobs. the speaker chose when he didn't have the votes instead of to reach out in a bipartisan way to see how we could work together, he chose to go to the dark side. let's bring -- let me repeat. and i repeat, he chose to go to the dark side. by putting forth a bill that he himself told his members would sink it in the senate and i add
lead to default. lead to default. we cannot default. we are the greatest country that ever existed in the history of the world. we are the united states of america. so let's go from the dark side to the bright side of the american people. vote yes on the reid bill. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. the house will be in order. members will take their seats. members in the back of the chamber will remove their conversations.
the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. dreier: i yield myself the balance of the time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for the balance of the time. mr. dreier: i believe in civil discourse and i want to say that on several occasions in the past 45 minutes members of my staff have urged me to have the words taken down that have been offered by members on the other side of the aisle. and i chose not to, i chose not to, madam saker, -- the speaker pro tempore: the house is not in order. the house is not in order.
the gentleman is recognized. mr. dreier: madam speaker, in the name ofivility i chose not to because we have a very serious issue that needs to be addressed. and it's before us and we need to make surethat in the next several hours we effectively address it. now, since 1962, since 1962 on 75 different occasions we have seen the united states congress increase the debt ceiling. now, we kp hearing about the urgency that exists today. i'll tell you what's urnt. if we don't change the course that we have been on the last four years with an 82% irease in nondefense discretionary spending, we are not going to have resources for any of the
things that my colleagues have talked about. what we need to do and the message thatas been sent is that for the first time ever we are going to change business as usual. now, i'm going to say something i probably shouldn at the very d here. there are some good things in senator reid's proposal. there are some good things in senator reid's proposal. i believe that the idea of establishing a joint select committee of our colleagues who will come together and make recommendations and force an up or down vote in both houses of congress is a positive thing. but i will say this. i don't believe, i don't believe that continuing down the road towards increasing debt ceiling without -- with the kinds of checks that are necessary is t right thing for us to do. last night's agreement that we voted on here was in fact, it stemmed from the bipartisan talks that took place right down this hall. and i will say to my colleagues,
madam speaker, vote no on the >> republican congressional leaders said that president obama has to agree to the debt ceiling below. they spoke for about five minutes. >> i think the vote on the house floor indicates there is bipartisan opposition to senator reid's proposal. the house yesterday sent our second bill to end this crisis to the senate. as a responsible approach that can end this crisis and get our economy moving again and again americans back to work. the only thing standing in the way of the house proposal over
the senate is the president and senator reid. it is time for them to tell us what they are for. we are hoping that we will hear from them soon about their plan for how we and this crisis. on then't want to linger spectacle going on over in the senate, but it is worth noting that you have the majority in effect, refusing to accept the vote on their own proposal. we know the read proposal will not pass the senate. it will not pass the house. my view is that we ought to and that trade and get serious. -- end that charade and get serious. we are now fully engaged, the
speaker and die with the one person in america that can sign a bill into law. i am confident and optimistic that we will get an agreement in the very near future and resolve this crisis in the best interest of the american people. >> mr. speaker, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff is in afghanistan and was asked by a number of soldiers whether they were going to get their checks next week. how can you allow them to wonder whether they are going to get paid? >> we will be able to come to an agreement. >> if we could have had this with a bipartisan agreement? >> it could have been finished early this past week. there was a bipartisan agreement
between myself and the leaders to move the underlying bill through the house yesterday. all the president had to do was say yes and it would have moved quickly through both the house and the senate. we wasted a week that we did not need to waste. now we have been driven into this and the president has to decide how we will get out of it. >> what gives you confidence? >> in spite of our differences, we are dealing with a reasonable and as possible people that want this crisis to end as quickly as possible. >> let me add, the country is not going to default for the first time in history. that is not going to happen. we have a level of seriousness
with the right people at the table that we needed last weekend. we will get a result. >> you came out here and said this will take a bipartisan vote. how are you working together? >> we have all worked together on most of the year to try to do this. senator reid, senator mcconnell and i have a solid agreement -- had a solid agreement last sunday. the president derails the agreement. it is time for the president to outline how we get out of this that he has driven us into. >> could i just add? could i just add? i think we all know that if the
president decides to reach an agreement with us, the democrats, most of them, will fall in line. he is the leader of the democratic party and president in the united states. he needs to indicate what we will sign. and end the discussions. >> [inaudible] >> i am not going to put any deadlines. but we are going to be able to come to some agreement to end this crisis as soon as possible. thanks. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> following the news conference, said that majority leader read had senators called to the floor and challenged the
assertion by the minority leader of the resolution was close. this exchange between senator reid and senator mcconnell is just under 10 minutes. today the speaker and republican leader held a press conference to announce they're in talks with the president and that a bargain to raise the debt limit in the works understan and is . mr. president, members. senate, that's not triewvment i just spent two hours with the president, the vic vice preside, and the agreement is not in a meaningful way. the republicans still refuse to negotiate in good faith. revenues off the calendar. no way we can talk about revenues. entitlements, oh, they're after entitlements -- medicare, social security. the speaker and republican leader should know that merely saying you have an agreement in
front of television cameras doesn't make it so. the republican leader says he's engaged. fortunately members of his congress, at least as far as i'm concerned, are more engaged than he is. there are meaningful talks going on with some of his members with my senators. whe the republican leader is holding meaningless press conferences, his members are reaching out to me and other members, as i've just indicated. they're coming forward with thoughtful ideas to try to move the process forward. i welcome their ideas and ask all members to continue these discussions. america is watching us and are demanding a result that's balanced. i say to my friend -- and he is my friend, the republican leader -- i'll come to his office, i'll go to the white house with him, ail do anything that i can do to try to move this process forward. but i say, as respectfully as i can to my friend, the senior senator from kentucky, the process has not been moved
forwd during this day. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the minority leader. the republicaneader. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, the fact of the matr is that the only way we're going to get an agreement before tuesday is to have an agreement with the president of the united states. the only person in america of the 307 million of us who can sign something into law. and i'm more optimistic than my friend, the majority leader. we both talked to the president today. we talked to the vice president several times. i think we've got a chance of getting the. what i think is not helpful is the process we're going through here on the senate floor having a -- show votes over live quorums, having a reluctance on the part of the majority to have a vote on a measure they favor, which we'v we've been prepared o
vote on since last night. look, we need to be in a position where all of us in the leadership can come back here and say that we think we've reached aramework of an agreement that we can recommend to our leaders and be briefing our members. d the sooner we can do that is correct the sooner we can reassure the american people that we're going to get a result on a bipartisan basis. and so that's what i'm working on. and i'm not interested in scoring any political points. m interested in gting an outcome for the american people. and the only way that can be done is with the president of the united states. and we're going to continue to work on that, get this problem soed, let everybody in the country know that we're not going to default for the first time in our history. that's how i'm going to spend my time until we get that outcome, that i can come up here and recommend to my colleagues. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: we are here today
right now for this reason: it's spelled f-i-l-b-u-s-t-e-r. it's a filuster. they won't allow us to have an updarn vote on our amendment. that is filibusr. by the any other term, it is a filibuster. that's why we're here. i hope that the negotiations go on. we're willing to be as fair as we can, but there has to be something that the president and vice president biden and the rest of us think is a step in the righ direction. i guess talking is a step in the right direction, but that's about it. so, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the matter that we have before us
which is amendment number 589, that we have an up-or-down vote on that, no -- as we have all e time, of course. there would be no points of order and like we do here all the time. have a vote on it right now. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, reserving the right to object, thes are direct quotes from my friend, the majority leader. he says, "in the senate, it's always been the case you need 60 vos. always been the case you need 60 votes." this is the majority leader of the united states senate. for him to suggest that a matter of this magnitude in a body that requires 60 votes for almost everything is going to be done with 51 votes makes no sense at all. i object. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the objection is heard. the majority leader. mr. reid: it is -- first of all, it is unconscionable that the republicans would filibuster legislation that would put a
default on our obleses. it is unprecedented, unprecedented. since 1962 congress has raised the debt limit 74 times, including 18 times under president reagan and there was never a threat of a filibuster, and it was always by majority vote. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mccnell: mr. president, i might say, i actually cut short a conversation with the vice president to come out here for this important vote on a live quorum. d like to get back to work so we can hopefully solve this problem and it seems to me, mr. presidt, it would be good idea for the majority to decide to allow the vote on the proposal they say they're in favor of. therefore, i would ask unanimous consent that the vote on the pending cloture motion occur at 6:30. mr. reid: i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard.
the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: mr. president, you can put lipstick on it, a nice siewrkts even a skirt sometimes, it's still a filibuster. >> of the senate also discusses the deficit and production issue. now some of the remarks from the senate floor debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. rubio: thank you, mr. president. i rise here on the senate floor today to speak on the tremendous issue that's captivated and rightfully so the attention of our country. let me start by saying that i do not enjoy or relish the role of attack dog. i never found any fun that that. i don't intend to tbhak here in the snavment i have been here for only seven months but means
i haven't been here long enough to think any of the stuff that's going on is normal. i certainly don't think any of the stuff that goes on here too often is normal. the fact that i've been here seven months has served me well in that regard. washington is full of people from all over the world and all over the country that have traveled here this week to come and watch their government at work and see the monuments of the city and find themselves in the middle of this debate. it is important to remind people what we're debating because although it is an important and difficult issue, it is not hard to understand. the united states of america more or less -- these are rough numbers but accurate -- spends about $300 billion a month. it has $180 billion a month that comes to the federal government through taxes and other sources of reknew and that -- revenue and that means that the senate will come to order to meet its bills, it needs to borrow $120 billion.
now, for much of the history of this country, there have been increases in the debt limit and the ability to borrow money. but what has happened over the last few years is that it's no longer a retune vote because the people who give us our credit rating are saying too much of the money you spend every month is borrowed and we want you to show us how over the next ten years you are going to borrow less as a percentage of what you spend. and so that's why, for years, where the debt limit was routine vote, it no longer can be. it is not something that was made up in some conservative think tank. but the reality that we cannot continue to borrow 40% to 41% of every penny that the government spends has brought us to this point. so you would think that seeing that, our government and our leaders here in both parties would react to that immediately and work on it. and i've heard lot of talk today about delaying votes. i would argue to you that this issue has been delayed at least for the last two and a half years. in the two years before i even came here, neither this -- this
chamber neither proposed or passed a budget. it is a startling figure that for the last two years this government has operated without a budget. the presiding officer: order in the chamber, please. please continue. mr. rubio: so think about that. two years have gone by without a budget. the first tw years that the president was the president, no budgets. some people would say, well, that's because partisanship in washington. well, that's not true. in the two years before i got here, both the house and senate were controlled by members of the democratic party, which are the president's party. in fact, in this chamber for at least one of those two years 60 votes, 60 out of 100 members here caucused with the democrats. 's aas you recall, on christmas -- as you will recall, on christmas eve, they were able to pass a bill. you know how long it has been since this chamber passed a
proposed a budget? that's 822 days. a lot of things have happened in the last 822 days. so then we got here in january, seven months have passed, still no budget. again, not budget passed, proposed, offered. here's our budget. still no budget. 822 days and every single day that i've been here. now, in the last seven days on this debt debate, we have finally seen a proposal from the esteemed senator from nevada, the majority leader. you would think, has he brought it to the floor to vote in not until last night. so, again, offered a proposal over the weekend and still for six days we sat around and what did we do around here? nothing. it was never brought to a vote. you would think these issues would have been worked on in january, february, march -- nothing. this chamber has done nothing. you talk about delay tactics? they've been thraig for two and a half years -- they've been dislaig for two and a half years. the president doesn't have the
luxury of some of these things. he has to propose a budget by law, and i d let me tell you how ridiculous the budget was. not a single member of this senate voted for it, including the democrats. it is a budget that didn't lead to the debt limit. it increased the debt. that's how absurd it was. where is the president plan? we haven't seen it. we haven't seen t here's the president's plan, a blank sheet of paimplet he doesn't have a plan. he hasn't offered a plan. again, if this were a republican president, i would say the same thing. i do not understand how an issue of this magnitude, of generational importance, the president of the united states has not offered a plan. if someone has seen the president's plan, please send to to me because no one else has seen it. it does not exist. so this has been the plan all along, by the way. the plan all along was not to take a position, to let the days count down until we got to this point with 72 hours to go and then force a vote on something
that they wanted. i believe that that has been the plan the entire time. and you can see it carrying itself out. you want to know why people all across america get grossed out about politics? it is by wasmg this kind of thing happen. for today and for much of this time i have seen all these attacks and name-calling. if we had $1 billion for every time i hear the word "tea party extremist," we could solve this debt problem. so all this name-calling -- lelt me read some quotes about this debt limit and i found some pretty extremist quotes. here's one. it says, "the fact that we are here today to debate raising america's debt limit is a sign of leadership's failure. america has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. americans deserve better. i, therefore, intend to oppose ththe to increase america's debt limit." a quhoat from a tea party extremist, right? no. this is a quote from march 16 of 2006 from senator barack obama of illinois. i found another extremist quote.
this one says, "because this mass of accumulation of debt was predicted, because it was foreseeable, because it was unnecessary, because it was the result of willful and reckless disregard for the warnings that were given and for the fundamentals of economic management, i am voting against a debt limit increase. well, that must be from a tea party extremist member of the house, right? no. this is march 16, 2006, from senator joe biden of delaware. last but not least, here's a quote from september 27 of 2007. it sayings, "i find it distaste l and disturbing to increase the debt limit yet again. clearly we need to change course and this debt limit bill is just another reminder of that." and that is from the distinguished senator from nevada, the majority leader. on that date in 2007. and yet now these same quotes in this context, what we're talking about raising the debt limit more than has ever been raised in one vote, is extremism in this name-calling is be a sudden and sets this process back.
the other thing i hear -- oh, it is not reasonable. this is a waste of time. this bill can't pass the senate when they talk about the house bill. so now it disqualifies the bill the fact that it can't pass the senate. well, guess what? the senate bill can't pass in the senate. the senate bill can't pass in the senate. mr. rockefeller: will the senator yield fao a question? mr. rubio: i'll yield. mr. kerry: i thank the senator for doing that. that's become somewhat unusual in the senate today. i truly appreciate it. i would ask the senator, as ironic as it may be that on occasion people in the past have indeed voted against a debt limit -- both republicans and democrats alike -- is it not true that in those situations those votes did not hold the nation hostage, did not come at a moment of enormous economic fragility as we are in today, and did not run the risk of default because it was going to pass overwhelmingly every time? is that not true?
mr. rubio: to the senator from massachusetts, i would say two things. the first is that those votes -- put it to you this way. if the senator from illinois, senator obama, had had his way, we'd be in the same position that we are in now. i recognize the president has now said that the debt limit is -- he made a mistake and he wouldn't have said that were he here today. my point, i would say to the senator from massachusetts, is that rhetoric two years ago was not considered extremist rhetoric and now that rhetoric, which by the way i have not found. i think it is a milgt. there may be a handful of building both in the house and senate perhaps that believe that the nation doesn't have to raise the debt limit. but by and large everyone recognizes that something must be done about the debt limit. what we have also said -- i speak for myself. let me not speak for any other member of this chamber or the next. what i have also said is that it would be a terrible mistake to lose this opportunity to do something meaningful about the debt. and that the debt limit gives us an opportunity to do something meaningful about the debt,
because the crisis that america faces is not one that i have defined. but one that has been defined by the rating houses and rating agencies who have said if you do not get your spending in order, we don't care whj you raise your debt limit or not, we will downgrade you. that means an increase in every american's interest payments. mr. kerry: will the senator further yield? mr. rubio: yes. mr. kerry: i would just say first of all that everybody understands the danger of the rating agencies right now. the problem is, we got to reach across the aisle and negotiate. we've got to come to agreement. right now there's not a lot of negotiating going on. i would ask the senator, if he doesn't agree that there is an enormous difference between -- the senator a moment ago said if he had gotten his way. the whole point is, everybody knew he wasn't about to get his way. that was a truly symbolic vote. today, however, is it not true we are on the brink of a default
and the absence of negotiation or the absence of a settlement presents us with a far more serious consequence to the unwillingness to raise the debt ceiling today? mr. rubio: to the senator from massachusetts i would say it's impossible to negotiate with someone who doesn't offer a plan. the finger pointing of who has a plan and who doesn't have a plan is relevant but it's not the central issue here. by also say in march of this year, march 30 of this year, i wrote an op-ed piece in "the wall street journal" and outlined the things i was looking for to be a part of this debate and i was told on march of this year that we didn't have enough time to do all those things, although later on we found out perhaps we did, this grand bargain and i am prepared, as i stand here today, if there is a meeting after this, i'd love to be a part of it. i would love to discuss the things we need to do not just to raise the debt limit. raising the debt limit is the easiest thing.
that's one vote away. the hard thing is to show the world we are serious about putting our spending in order so we can show people we'll able to pay our bills down the road. and that is a combination of things that i have outlined very clearly, not just on march of this year in "the wall street journal," but in repeated speeches on this floor. and those are the things, we need to do two things. number one is we need to grow our economy because while the debt is the biggest issue in washington, jobs are the biggest issue facing america. and if we could get more people back to work, we would have more people paying taxes, and if we had more people paying taxes, we'd have more revenue for government. sos that the first thing we need to do is figure out how to create jobs in america and i think there is bipartisan agreement on things we dan do to do that. the president himself mentioned regulatory reform as a necessity in the state of the union. let's do it. we've all talked about tax reform. and if there are things in that tax code that do not belong there because they are the process of good lobbying instead of good policy, let's go after
those things. let's talk about that. i think we all agree that there has to be some changes in discretionary spending but we also agree that doesn't solve the problem. that's a small piece of our overall budget that we have to save medicare because it goes bankrupt if we leave it the way it is. that we have to save medicaid because it goes bankrupt if we leave it the way it is. i can tell you that history will back up what i'm about to say and that is that there is no government run by conservatives, republicans, put whoever you want there, if you give government the opportunity to spend more money than it has, it will do it. it will do it every time. that's why i believe there are at least 20 members of the senate in the other party who have supported some version of the balanced budget amendment and yes it's something we cannot even get a vote on much less discuss in the senate. i believe there can be compromise on those outlines but here's the last thing i would say. my time is about to expire so let me close with this. compromise is fantastic. i would love nothing more than to leave this building tomorrow night having said the republic still works. i was able to stand shoulder to
shoulder with people from states far from mine with views different from mine but who love their country so much we were able to come together and save it when it faced this catastrophe. i would love nothing more than compromise. but i would say to you that compromise, that's not a solution is a waste of time. if my house was on fire, i can't compromise about which part of the house i'm going to save. you save the whole house or it will all burn down. we either save this country or we do not. and to save it, we must seek re. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. paul: the president has refused to take off the table the fact that we would gault dwawlt on our debt. that's irresponsibility and without a doubt the president should come forth and say he will pay the intert on the debt. on our side we've been willing
to compromise all along. we've been offering plans. we passed two plans in the house. now we have a plan before us, a democrat plan to raise the debt ceiling, and there are some of us who would vote for this democrat plan who might require some amendments or some compromise, it would have to be some input from our side. and yet even though this bill was introduced yesterday and republicans said they would vote for it, the democrats are now filibustering their own bill. what's funny, they filibuster their own bill and then point fingers and say we're trying to stop things. we're here today to try to move things forward and so in the spirit of trying to reach a compromise before the deadline comes, i would ask unanimous consent that the vote on the pending cloture motion occur immediately or as soon as possible 5:00 p.m. today. the presiding officer: the gentlemanfrom illinois. mr. durbin: reserving the right
to object. under the filibuster rules of the senate, there is a requirement of 60 votes for cloture. we have said that we are prepared to move to a timely vote on this pending amendment, a majority vote, the same as the vote that speaker boehner had in the house, and i would object unless the senator from kentucky wants to amend his unanimous consent request to make it clear that this will be a unanimous consent which i have spelled out here in detail if he'd like me to prent it. mr. paul: reserving the right to object, i would remind the senator that there is a difference between t senate and the house. our founding fathers gave great power and leeway to the senate. weere meant to be a cck and a balance against unbridled enthusiasm sometimes from one party or another, and so i would object to that motion. the presiding officer: is there objection to the original request? mr. durbin: objt. the presiding officer: objection is heard.
mr. paul: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that i be allowed to present an amendment. this amendment would be an amendment to the reid bill, and under this amendment what would happen is i have at least 10 republicans who will vote for the harry reid bill which would allow a compromise, which would allow the debt ceiling to rise. i know the president is worried about having campaign time. he's worried about getting back out and doing some fundraisers. he doesn want to consider the debt ceiling again before his election or his re-elecon campaign. so this amendment that i would offer would allow us to move forward in a bipartisan way. all republicans are asking for is that we balance our budget graduay over a seven to eight-year period. what this amendment what do and i'm asking unanimous consent to present is an amendment that says we will raise the debt ceiling contingent upon badge of a balanced budget amendment. by ask unanimous consent that i be allowed to present this amendment to the reid bill. the presiding officer: is there
objection? mr. durbin: mr. president, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. paul: see, what i think this illustrates is that, you know, compromise, everybody says the pundits say that compromise is the mark of an enlightened person. we're trying to compromise. i just offered to pass the leader's bill. i've offered to work with him. i'm from the tea party. they say we won't compromise? i'm willing to raise the debt ceiling. in fact, we worked on a motion that got more votes than any other motion that's been set forward and that was cut, cap and balance that would have required a balanced budget amendment to be passed, but would have raised the debt ceiling. what do we hear from the other side? intransigence. who is refusing to compromise? sounds to me like the other side is refusing to compromise. i have with me my distinguished colleague from utah. i'd like to hear his thoughts on where the fault lies and where we could come to if we were to compromise to try to find an
agreement. mr. lee: mr. president, a number of us, myself included, have been arguing since january, ever since we arrived here and were sworn in in this very room, that the national debt is a permanent problem. the almost $15 trillion that we now owe as a nation is permanent. it's going to take a long time to pay off. there are people who are not yet old enough to vote, there are people who will be born in a few years who are not even here who will one day have to assist in paying off that debt. now, the fact that this is a long-term problem means that it requires a long-term solution. that's why we've been saying all along that we ought not to raise the debt limit again. extending our national debt by another $2.5 trillion more or less, without a permanent solution in place. herein lies the problem. it's difficult or impossible for one congress to come up with a setf budget numbers that will
necessarily bind future congresses. we can come up with a plan to cut $2 trillion or $3 trillion over a 10 or 15-year period but if future congresses don't want to go along with that they can find a way out of that. this has happened again as we've seen with gram-rudman-hobblings, with the pay-go rules. congress is a living, breathing waiver unto itself. we need a permanent solution and this is why we settled on the need for a balanced budget amendment. as my distinguished colleague, the junior senator from kentucky has just pointed out, there is no intransigce in our position. those of us who identify with the republican party, those of us who it -- who identify with the tea party, we were sent here with a mandate by the voter, a mandate that says the federal government is too big and too expenve. now, resistance to this message from the other side of the aisle as vehement as that resistance
may be, is not genuine if what it says is that this instance, insistence for a balanced budget amendment is itself reflective of an unwillingness to compromise. there are myriad opportunities to compromise within that general framework. we've offered that. we've extended that. republicans have now submitted no fewer than two bills that have passed the house of representatives to address the debt limit issue. both of which have stopped dead in their tracks over here without further opportunity. most importantly, without a response by the democratic party this the senate or otherwise. so if there is either party in this discussion that is refusing to compromise, it's not ours. if there is any group that has failed to offer solutions, it cannot be described as the tea party movement. i ask my colleague, the junior senator from kentucky, do you see any -- any element within
the tea party movement, any element within the republican party that is unwilling to compromise or wanting to block just for the sake of blocking? mr. paul: no, from going to hundreds of tea party rallies and grassroots rallies with voters across america, what i see is they want what's best for america. i don't think they really particularly care wheer it's a republican plan or a democrat plan, they want what's best for america. but they want a solution. and the problem with the debate here in washington is all of the proposals seem to want to add more debt. we have $14 trillion worth of debt, and both the republican and the democrat proposal, we're going to add $7 trillion to $8 trillion more in debt. what i think the folks in the tea party and those who are concerned about passing this debt along to their kids and grandkids want, they want us to spend less. i think a great contrast and what illustrates the problem here is that spending is going up 7% a year. nobody is really talking about cutting that spending. they're cutting about the rate of growth of that spending.
there's a new plan out called the one penny plan. it would actually have real cuts of one penny on every dollar spent. the other side pulls their hair and says, oh, you're so rad calf. we say we just want to cut one penny out of every dollar of government spending. is that radical? so the president has said it's a dysfunctional place. he is right in that sense. bu i think some of the dysfunction comes from the hypocrisy or the other side not really listening. for example the balanced budget amendment. they say polls show routinely 75% of america are for it. and routinely about 14% of americans seem to be approving of this body. so the question i would have is maybe it's that we're not listening well enough. maybe we're not doing what the people want. mr. lee: that certainly appears to be the case. and it's a reminder to us of the fact that no matter how much we might be tempted at tes to demagogue this issue, no matter
how temptg it will be for certain members of this body to cast blame elsewhere, they cannot escape one simple fact, which is that the american people are demandingore. they are demanding that we spend less. they're demanding that we stop this barbaric praice of perpetual, massive-scale deficit spending. why? because it erodesndividual liberty, it takes money that people have not yet made and spends it and obligates them to repay it in some cases before they're old enough to vote, in other cases before they're even born. and so we need a permanent lution. when we put something in the constitution, it serves as a permanent reminder of the fact that we as a people have made a decision and we're going to move forward. not everybody will necessarily agree as to how best we should move forward having made that decision. but the american pple overwhelmingly to the tune of
75% support the idea that we should amend the constitution to restrict congress' deficit spending power. mr. paul: i think the other thing when people talk about washgton being dysfunctional and they are upset with what's going on in washington, i think one of the things that upsets people is hypocrisy. people who say one thing and do another. and, you know, it really is, that's the sad state of affairs -- sad state of affairs. people run on one idea and then they completely change their ideas. the president was a u.s. senator. he spoke on this floor and here are his words in 2006. the fact that we are here today debating raising the america's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. he was sort of pointing fingers. everybody is pointing fingers. it's someone else's fault. i call that the empty partisanship but his conclusion voting to raise the debt limit would send a bad signal to our leaders that they're doing the right thing. i've often said there is no
objective evidence that washington or congress is spending your mone wisely. the pentagon says they're too big to be audited. can't balance their books. there was $100 billion unaccounted for in the becoming year. $5 billion that the g.a.o. sound. duplicate programs. 82 different programs training workers. could we not maybe deal with one federal program training workers instead of 82 different ones doing the same thing? but this is it. the president said that raising the debt ceiling would be a mistake but now that he's present he's changed his mind. e hip hypocrisy of that is whati think makes americans unhappy. the president said the same thing on war. he said no president should unilaterally go to war without congressional authority and here we are at war in libya with no vote i congress. he says he has a piece of paper from the united nations. we didn't elect the united nations. we have a constitution and it requires those things be debated in congress.
people are unhappy because we're not doing the people's business. we haven't had a budget here in 800 days. do you know what? it's against the law. it's against the law not to have a budget. we haven't had a budget in 800 days but the budget law says we should have a budget every year. we're suppod to match our appropriations bills with the budget. we're not doing it. the american people are unhappy. we are dysfunctional but we're not doing the people's busins. but we're also, we've become profligate spenders, spending money that we don't have. and really, i think we risk great dangers. and i would ask the question to the senator from utah is, what's the answer? how do we get out of this when we seem to be so far apart and even on both sides we don't seem to be tackling the issues in a way that would cause or allow for significant cuts in spending? mr. lee: i have a friend named ron mcmill lynn, lives in my hometown of alpine, utah, and
he's the author of a number of books dealing with business negotiation, dealing with trying to figure out how you can get to compromise. the presiding officer: the time has expired. mr. paul: can we have an extension of two minutes to finish our thoughts? mr. durbin: i don't object as long as this side is given an additional two minutes. mr. paul: thank you. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. lee: and in that series of books, the crucial conversations he encourages people to do is to find whatever common ground they can reach. i think there is common ground among the american people geney that we should balance our budget. not everyone agrees about how we balance the budget, what should be cut, b they do agree that we should balance it. that being the case, that's where we oht to focus our efforts, is on amending our law of laws, that 224-year-old document that has fostered the development of the greatest civilization the world has ever known. change it again to improve it,
to restrict congress' borrowing power. the plan proposed by the democrats that's now about to come before us puts our budgeting process on autopilot, doesn't require another bug for two years -- her to budget for tw -- another budget fortwo yeae to fund itself without additional debate in congress. this is wrong, this is not the right approach, i oect to it. for that reason, i, along with my other republican colleagues, are prepared to vote on this and vote no on this right now. we are not the ones delaying this vote. mr. paul: mr. president, i would say that what americans don't like is empty partisanship. that's what's going on today. the democrats are standing up and beating their chest and saying, "republicans won't let us have a vote." it's untrue. i've offered to have the vote. you've seenhe objection here before your own eyes. they won't vote on this. let's dispense with the empty partisanship, let's move forward and have a vote. and if they would let us have one amendment, an amendment that would gradually balance the budget over seven to eight years, i'll vote for their
proposal and i'll ensure enough votes that it will pass. thank you, mr. president. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: before yielding to the senator from north carolina, i would like to note that last night, the two senators who just finished their colloquy, had an opportunity to vote for the boehner plan which required a constitutional balanced budget amendment and both senators lee and paul are registered as having voted to table the boehner approach which include that requirement for a mr. pres? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. mr. franken: thank you, mr. president. i rise today to give a voice to minnesotans, to relay their thoughts on how congress should resolve this impasse and raise the debt ceiling to avoid a default. on wednesday i received an e-mail from a constituent in st. louis park, my home towfnlt this e-mail reads, "dear senator, i am a republican. i am a minnesotan. i am a small business owner.
i am considered to have a high income relative to the average american. here's my request: please work together to get this debt limit impasse settled." on thursday i received this e-mail from a man in bloomington. he writes, "i am a small business man in the middle of a fund-raising effort. the concern over the debt ceiling has caused all the angle investors to put off any discussion of investment until they know what is going to happen. this has stopped my ability to raise funds which will lead to a new -- two new high-quality jobs in minnesota. i support a simple bill that increases the debt limit to get us through the 2012 elections as has been done hundreds of times before." yesterday i received an e-mail from a couple also. "we are retired small business owners who are watching our very, very conservative retirement account drop and
plunge due to the inability of congress to come up with a plan for the debt ceiling. we trust your judgment as a senator, but plead with congress and the senate to come up with a solution. we absolutely cannot afford to see our retirement savings sink again like they did in 2008." and it's not just individual citizens. i received a letter from dakota county's administrator. reads in parkts "if the federal government does not resolve its fiscal issues in a timely and responsible manner, it will drive up costs to taxpayers here in dakota county. being able to borrow at the lowest possible rates has meant that our county's taxpayers have gotten mordz an better public facilities from libraries to senior housing to highway interchanges and saved hundreds of thousands of dollars for both property taxpayers and senior housing residents in the past several years alone. the city of chaska reached out to my office explaining that
they are planning to sell debt in august to fund a street reconstruction program and refund their water treatment plant. if congress fails to act, these projects will come at a much higher cost to residents of chaska. i received a particularly compelling e-mail yesterday from a woman from falcon heights. she wrote, "i'm writing again to say i support the president and realize a need to compromise. it is scary for a 66-year-old retired school teacher who has medicare and social security, scary is a default and what it would do to the economy." that's advice from sue. sue gets t she gets that congress's failure to act may have a direct impact on her. but the impact is really for the whole economy. and sue is asking for us to
compromise. and compromise we have. let me make one thing clear. leader reid's plan is a compromise. let me make another thing clear. house speaker boehner's plan is a tea party plan. harry reid's plan is a true compromise. it contains all spending cuts and zero revenues. during these debates, there have been lots of ratios floating around. senator conrad, the budget chairman, proposed a balanced and sensible flan had a one-to-one spend cut to revenue ratio. personally, i like that approach. president obama was negotiating a 4-1 or even 5-1 spending cut to revenue ratio. in the reid plan, there's no ratio. it's 100% cut cuts zero revenue.
secondly, will contains dollar-for-dollar spending cults to match the debt ceiling increase. this is exactly what the republicans have been asking for. yesterday, this morning i learned that 43 of my republican colleagues have signed a letter to leader reid signaling their opposition to his proposal. why? well, they say that the savings from winding down the wars in iraq and afghanistan don't count. specifically, they say that these savings are -- quote -- "a widely ridiculed accounting gimmick that breeds cynicism." unquote. yet all but three of the 43 senators who signed this letter voted for the ryan budget on may 25 this year. that budget counted the same drawdowns as almost identical in
savings. so those savings were legitimate enough to secure their support for the ryan budget but not legitimate enough to secure their support for leader reid's debt ceiling compromise. and here we are on the precipice, and suddenly they've done a 180-degree turn. either these savings count or they don't. you can't have it both ways. so we are proposing exactly what republicans have been saying that they want. yet instead of accepting this deal, they're using what precious time we have left to push forward with their agenda, and it's not even their agenda. it's the tea party agenda. their radical agenda is a wolf in sheep's clothing. last night we voted down speaker boehner's plan which requires
the passage of a balanced budget constitutional amendment, a balanced budget amendment sounds, on its face, sensible, but in reality all of the current house proposals for a balanced budget amendment would have disastrous consequences for our nation. a balanced budget constitutional amendment would do permanent damage to our social safety net by slashing spending to 18% of g.d.p. that's what they all propose. we haven't had a spending ratio that low since 1966. and today's america is very different than 1966. we have a much older population. today we have a higher percentage of people drawing on social security and medicare benefits, more than ever before. health care costs are 15% higher, even during president reagan's 10-year spending
average, 28% of g.d.p. what would an 18% cap really mean? let's use the republican study committee's budget proposed in april as an example. a budget like theirs is roughly what we would expect if we capped spending at 18% of g.d.p. their budget cut non-defense discretionary funding by 70% by 2021. like the ryan plan, the republican study committee's budget ended medicare as we know it, changed it into a voucher program and raised eligibility to 67. but it did it more quickly. their budget raised the social security retirement age to 70. it resulted in important programs like food stamps and medicaid getting cut by 50%. the republican study committee budget was the ryan budget on steroids, and i'd like to remind you of what happened to it on
the house floor. this is an interesting story. because this story shows you just how extreme this budget was. most house republicans didn't actually want such a harmful draconian budget to be the official house budget. but many of them wanted to go on record to brag to their tea party support theirs they had slashed $9 trillion in federal spending p. so they scheduled a vote just as soon as democrats would vote it down for them and then they could just blame the democrats. well, the majority whip steny hoyer had an idea. moments before the vote, he asked democrats to vote "prese "present." this would leave the onus squarely on the republicans to vote it up or down. chaos erupted in the house. as republican the republica thep
realized what would happen. too many votes had been passed in favor of the republican budget. the republican leadership got autumn inform their members to switch from "yes" to "no" and in the entdz 119 republicans voted in favor and 120 against. crisis averted. that's how bad this plan was. and a balanced budget amendment that caps spending at 18% would essentially do exactly the same thing. this is a perfect example of political posturing. we voted down speaker boehner's plan last night for that very reason. his plan wasn't about finding a real solution, it was all about political posturing. if it became law, it would subject americans to a very scary republican study committee reality.